Farmers in Montana have taken a great liking to industrial hemp, a variety of cannabis that doesn’t have any psychoactive effects. The state legalized its cultivation back in 2014 under a federal program, with the first legal crop being planted in 2017. Licensed Montana farmers grew more acreage of hemp than any other U.S. state in 2018, and although other states have since surpassed Montana’s hemp output, the state is still an industry leader.
Now, thanks to a new online Hemp Marketplace, Montana hemp farmers will be able to market their products to a wider market of sellers. Announced by the state in late October, the online portal is designed to connect hemp farmers with buyers in search of seeds, fiber and hemp derivatives such as cannabidiol (“CBD”). The portal can be accessed by visiting the Montana Department of Agriculture’s (“MDA”) website.
The concept for the Hemp Marketplace comes from the MDA’s Hay Hotline, which connects buyers and sellers of hay and pasture. “Only instead of hay and pasture, the online tool connects buyers and sellers of hemp and hemp derivatives,” the Hemp Marketplace website states. “Due to hemp’s status as a regulated crop, only growers licensed through the Montana State Hemp Program are permitted to list their hemp for sale.
All listings, which are free, must adhere to the federal and state THC limit of 0.3%. The online portal will be split into “Hemp for Sale “ and “Hemp to Buy” categories, and the listings will include what type of products are on offer or in demand, whether or not a given crop is organic and whether third-party lab testing data is available. The Hemp Marketplace also organizes products into one of four varieties based on whether or not the hemp seeds have been certified by regulators.
In the meantime, players in the cannabis market have been waiting with bated breath for Montana residents to vote on the state’s legalization initiative. Based on a poll released by Montana State University, passage of the bill seems likely. The survey found that 54% of likely voters plan to support legal cannabis, 38% oppose it while 7% remain undecided.
“With hemp being a relatively new crop grown in Montana, the department recognizes that these markets are still developing,” says MDA Director Ben Thomas. “The Hemp Marketplace was developed to help facilitate connections between buyers and sellers. I’m looking forward to seeing how the marketplace will continue to advance the industry.”
A company you should watch in the cannabis sector is Pure Extracts Technologies Corp. (CSE: PULL). The company focuses on hemp and cannabis processing, and it has also entered the functional and therapeutic psychedelic products.
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